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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  September 13, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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perry, or so angry at obama or so determined to whisk him from the white house that they are willing to have someone as their candidate, someone who, mitt romney who, has had long had his heart set on the white house, would have never in a million years shown up at a tea party meeting? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. qupt the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts. republican candidates want to rip up rick perry. >> they believe they have the will of the american people on their side. >> my question to congress is, what on earth are we waiting for? >> excited supporters greet the president on his pass this bill campaign in john boehner's home state. >> crowd chanting "pass this bill." >> pass this bill! pass this bill! >> also ohio also the home state of speaker boehner's -- >> hello, columbus. >> pay attention. >> ohio obviously a huge swing state. >> he'll be in north carolina
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tonight. >> you want to create jobs right now, pass this bill. if you want to put teachers back in the classroom, pass this bill. if you want tax cuts for middle class families and small business owners, what do you do? pass this bill. >> republicans are excited about the president's bill, too. >> i'm glad the president is coming to ohio. >> i understand the political realities of what he's dealing with. >> he'll get a very warm midwestern welcome in my home state. >> anything that the president would propose would be rejected by mitch mcconnell. >> it's not a serious attempt. >> the president can call this bill whatever he wants. >> the only job he cares about is president obama's. >> the obstruction of the republican tea party -- >> the time for gridlock and the time for games is over. >> and the republican presidential candidates are excited about rick perry. >> full court pile on. >> perry seems so unprepared. >> he's not great at coming back. >> perry was losing the crowd.
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>> mitch, you were doing pretty good until you got to talking poker. >> hpv. >> a vaccine on a disease that has spread through sexual intercourse. >> this is just flat-out wrong. >> and then they lost them on immigration. >> that is not the american way. >> buenos noches mi amigos. >> job growth was 10% a year. >> i think you need to know what a real texas accent sounds like. >> good evening from new york. closely following the advice given to him on this program, not by me, president obama took his american jobs act on the road again today, this time to ohio, home state of house speaker john boehner. the president spoke to a crowd of more than 3,000 people at a
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columbus area school campus that recently completed a major modernization and renovation. the kind the president has proposed doing across the country in his jobs bill. >> those of you here at ft. hays have been making it happen. see, a few years back you decided to renovate this school. and you didn't just repair what was broken, you rebuilt this school for the 21st century, with faster internet, cutting-edge technology. and that hasn't just created a better, safer learning environment for the students, it also created good jobs for construction workers. you just heard tom say it's created over 250 jobs for masons and concrete workers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians and many of those jobs are filled by the good people of columbus, ohio. there are construction projects like these all across the country just waiting to get started and there are millions of unemployed construction
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workers who are looking for a job. so my question to congress is, what on earth are we waiting for? >> republican leaders in congress may have sounded conciliatory when president obama first announced the american jobs act, but they have become predictably critical of the bill since the president announced how he wants to pay for it by asking how income earners, corporate jet owner, oil companies and hedge fund managers to pay more in taxes. >> that's basically all he's proposing here. temporary stimulus to be paid for later by permanent tax hikes. >> today at a jobs summit in washington, house majority leader eric cantor said he would be willing to consider tax cuts for businesses but dismissed the other proposals in the american jobs act. and, of course, the revenue proposals to pay for it. in ohio, the president kept the legislative strategy simple. in his 16-minute speech, he
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called on congress to pass this bill 18 times. a call that was echoed campaign-style by the crowd. >> there is work to be done. there are workers ready to do it. so let's tell congress, pass this bill. right away. >> pass this bill! pass this bill! pass this bill! >> joining me now are jonathan capehart, "washington post" editorial writer and msnbc contributor. and adam green, cow fou-founder progressive change committee. adam, let me begin with you. has the president called you since he's done these speeches in eric cantor's neighborhood and now in boehner's? in other words, followed your advice explicitly as given on this program that he needs to go
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out there on the road into the opposition territory and sell his program the way he's been selling them? has he called you up and said, hey, adam, great idea. now that i've done it, it feels really great. >> i missed a couple phone calls today, so he might have left me a voicemail. we'll see when i get back home. but, you know, this was free advice to him. i'm really glad that somebody inside the white house has also been echoing this and he took it. i think you know as well as anybody, lawrence, given your time in the senate that the best negotiation strategy is to be negotiating strongly inside the room but to have the angry hoards knocking on the negotiation room door on your side. across the table at your opponents and say, look, the people pay attention, they're on my side, they need to cave. by going right to john boehner's home stay and eric cantor's home state, that's a huge step in the right direction for jobs and taxing the rich. >> john thnathan, does the whit house say this is a change for them legislatively or a merger of a re-election campaign with a
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legislative effort? >> no, i think it's a recognition if they want to get this done, they're going to have to change the way they've been doing things. there are some things that are, you know, different this time from previous efforts by the president to get a do or die bill passed. you know, with health care, there wasn't -- there were ideals that the president wanted, you know, to be put into legislation. as you saw, i believe it was speaker boehner in the open, he was holding it. president obama held up the american jobs act in the rose garden. there's actually a piece of legislation that's coming from the white house going to congress saying, this is what i want you to do, and this is how i want you to do it. giving the president the perfect line for people to chant and something very easy for the american people to do what he wants them to do which is to call up their congressmen and say, "pass this bill." >> he has in the past basically presented his positive vision of how to do things and frequently not really acknowledgined what
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was up against. that was different in the rose garden yesterday. i want to go to a clip of the rose garden where he referred specifically to a republican aide on capitol hill saying why should we do this for obama? and took that on directly. let's listen to this. >> already yesterday there was some republicans quoted in washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the american jobs act, they shouldn't pass it because it would give me a win. give me a win? this isn't about giving me a win. this is about giving democrats or republicans a win. it's about giving the american people a win. it's about giving ohio a win. it's about your jobs and your lives and your futures. and giving our kids a win. >> okay. that's the clip of him today saying what he said yesterday in the rose garden. he loves, adam green, he loves that politico clip, an unnamed source so much, that he keeps using it to rile up his crowds about how political the
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republicans are in facing this jobs bill. is that the right decision for him at this point given he has to come to some sort of agreemenwith the republicans in the house if he's going to get something? >> absolutely it's the right strategy. for two reasons. one, sometimes you have to name names. you have to the name the people who are actually standing against progress. it he's willing to go in that direction, that's great. i agree with what jonathan said before. there's a recognition that what happened before just didn't work. to point my finger on what that means exactly, we've polled ohio and 80% of ohio voters want to tax the rich and strongly oppose cuts to social security and programs like medicare, particularly with benefits. if you're across the table from john boehner and john boehner is not acting in good faith, not negotiating in good faith, that's a problem. so you can't keep going down that behind closed doors roads negotiating with factors. if they insist on doing that, take your message to the people and, again, have those angry crowds on your side saying, we
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want jobs, we want investment in our future and it's time to tax the rich. >> yeah, john thnathan, i have say, when i saw him use that in the rose garden and referred to him and joe biden looking at it before they came out, it's one of the moments where the politician is pretending to be outraged by the comment but it treating it like a political gift. because look at how i can expose my opponents for what they are. they don't care about jobs, they just care about the politics. on the politics of this, jonathan, when do we cross the line here into defining this as re-election campaigning? it's starting to get tricky because the dnc is now starting to run ads that follow where the president has gone on this trip. >> well, look, the two entities, the west wing and the dnc, are two completely different operations that the democratic national committee wants to piggyback on something, on an official presidential event, fine. that's what they can do. what we have here is a president who is trying to get a piece of legislation passed and doing it
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in a way that gets his supporters and gets the american people riled up so that they'll actually push congress to pass it. it looks like a campaign. since we're going into a presidential election season, i can understand why you and others would look and ask the question, you know, are we blurring the lines here? but if the dnc wants to take what the president is doing and using it as a rallying point for their efforts for 2012, you know, so be it. you think the republicans wouldn't do the same thing? >> adam green, where does the president go from here? how does he actually get action moving in the congress? >> well, literally i hope he goes to kentucky from here. that's mitch mcconnell's home state. look, i want to be very clear. if campaign-related pressures are getting this white house to do the right thing, so be it. you know, again, overwhelmingly independent voters, democratic voters, even republican voters
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do not want to cut vital benefits and do want strong investment in jobs. so i think that the more this president takes this tee bait outside of washington, keeps the pressure on republicans to cave, that's a winning strategy for him and that both helps him policy wise and for the election. >> msnbc contributor jonathan capehart and now de facto presidential adviser adam green, co-founder of the progressive change campaign committee. thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. stay with us for more on the obama jobs bill. and in the rewrite tonight, i'll tell you exactly how congress will try to rewrite the bill and how the president might have to rewrite his new campaign slogan. and, coming up, why rick perry's realistic stance on immigration and border issues could doom his candidacy. [ male announcer ] this...is the network.
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coming up, republicans confirm they're one in the same as the tea party by putting on a debate just for them. and governor perry just picked up another endorsement this evening. and what are the chances that the republican house of representatives will pass the president's jobs bill without completely rewriting it? how the congress will rewrite the jobs bill is coming up. where else? in the "rewrite." [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
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it's good. you know, good back and forth and opportunity for us to lay
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out our vision for how you make sure the people on social security are going to have it, that are on it now. those that are approaching it. and those that are mid-career, or younger people. and how we're going to transform it and make sure they had a program in place. i thought it was a very positive conversation with the people of the country. >> that was republican presidential front-runner rick perry in tampa this morning giving his spin on last night's republican presidential debate. perry is desperately trying to dig his way out of a hole he dug for himself by calling social security a ponzi scheme, a failure and unconstitutional. >> do you still believe that social security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book came out and return to the states? >> i think we ought to have a conversation -- >> we're having that right now, governor. we're running for president. >> i'll finish this conversation. the issue is, are there ways to
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move the states into social security for state employees or for retirees? we did in the state of texas back in the 1980s. i think those types of thoughtful conversations with america rather than trying to scare seniors like you're doing and other people -- >> governor, the term ponzi scheme is what scared seniors. >> you said if people did it in the private sector -- >> did what? >> -- it would be called criminal. that's in your book. >> yeah. what i said was -- >> governor perry, you have to quote me correctly. you said it's criminal. what i said is congress taking money out of the social security trust fund is like criminal and that is and it's wrong. >> social security wasn't the only issue rick perry's opponents used against him. >> does governor perry reserve credit for all the jobs created in texas? >> well, sure. look -- i think governor perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that
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doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player. >> does your governor deserve all that credit? >> not quite. when 170,000 of the jobs were government jobs. so i would put a little damper on this. i don't want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes or something. >> rick perry picked up another endorsement this evening. nevada governor brian sandival after bobby jindal endorsed him monday. a new gallup poll shows after last week's nbc political debate, rick perry gathered more positive intensity than any other republican. he leads with a score of 24%. mitt romney gained 5 points in intensity and is at a score of 16%. joining me, the intense editorial director for the aol "huffington post" media group and msnbc analyst, howard fineman. howard, we are watching rick perry trying to dig his way out of the social security hole he
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dug for himself. i said after the nbc debate last week you cannot possibly win the presidency campaigning on the demonization of social security. how is he doing? he didn't want to bring up ponzi scheme. he wasn't going to use those words. romney stuffed it on to him. at a certain point, the best he could with ponzi scheme this time around was to say, hey, i wasn't the first one to call it a ponzi scheme. how's he doing? >> well, not that great. and you can't -- you're right. i don't think you can win the presidency that way. that doesn't mean you can't win the republican nomination that way. the problem that he's got, that rick perry has conceptually, if you call something unconstitutional and illegal, by definition you don't want to fix it. how do you fix something that's unconstitutional and illegal? he has a conceptual and rhetorical problem. the other candidates let romney handle that one. that was an exercise in gang tackling there. all other -- all the seven other
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candidates had something to go after rick perry on last night. >> and the crown jewel of the perry governorship is starting to get a little tarnished with that pesky little constituent of his, ron paul, who has the impertinence to mention things like, hey, all those jobs, a lot of those jobs are government jobs that were created there. ron paul talks about taxation increasing in the state of texas. a guy like ron paul can stay in this thing well beyond what's reasonable. he can campaign on a shoe string, as can i assume michele bachmann. if those two stay on the stage as long as they possibly can, won't they be more of a problem for perry than romney could possibly be on his own? >> well, the dynamic of this is everybody else wants to play a role that suits them but that also slows down rick perry's momentum. ron paul did it from the libertarian perspective. michele bachmann did it from the sort of the moral majority perspective, if you will. mitt romney did it from the
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managerial perspective. rick santorum did it from the immigration perspective. jon huntsman did it from the i'm a better manager than you are perspective. everybody had some interest in touting themselves while at the same time trying to slow down rick perry. because rick perry still, even with all the trouble he generated for himself on social security and on some other issues, you know, he's the guy who still has the momentum and the objective of the game now is to slow him down by any way possible. michele bachmann attacked his credibility and his ethics. so, you know, it's getting nasty really fast. they have to slow romney -- slow rick perry down if they can. >> we had a romney spokesman on our broadcast coverage after last week's debate who basically said, rick perry is welcome to the front-runner role. because -- and this is what he meant. that when you're the front-runner, the only way the other participants in the debate can get attention is by hitting the front-runner. how can perry counter this?
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>> well, he's got to think through his answers. he has to stay calm. he has to have comebacks. i mean, i think rick perry is pretty good at counterpunching but he doesn't always have the facts straight and some of the laugh lines he gets in front of the tea party when he has a tea party crowd on his side -- after all, rick perry was playing a home game there. some polls say close to half of the tea party people see him as their favorite candidate. he has to get better at it and go down the third, fourth and fifth level to explain himself. he has to take advantage of the fact that everybody's aiming at him and he didn't really do it very well last night. >> msnbc political analyst, howard fineman, thanks for joining me tonight. howard. it's going to be fun, howard, to watch your intensity level increase as this campaign gets more intense. >> lawrence, i still have my tim pawlenty and i know you do, too. >> we're going to get him on this show. we have him booked. he's coming. coming up, republican presidential candidate rick
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perry said the makers of a controversial vaccine he made mandatory in his state only gave him $5,000 and he couldn't be bought for $5,000. we'll take a closer look at the ties between the pharmaceutical company and rick perry. and we'll look at the one policy stance that could really ruin rick perry's chances in the primary. melissa harris-perry joins me coming up.
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still to come in this hour, texas republican governor rick perry presents, resents michele bachmann's insinuation that he can be bought by a merck pharmaceutical lobbyist for $5,000. perry seems to be suggesting that it would take a lot more than $5,000 for merck to buy him. which may be why merck has actually contributed much more than $5,000 to rick perry. and in the "rewrite," how will house republicans rewrite the president's jobs bill? [ male announcer ] what if we told you that cadillac
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for a 30-tablet free trial offer, it feels like help is never far away. it feels like you're protected against life's little mishaps. it feels like you'll make it home. that's what it feels like to be a member. the company was merck and it was a $5,000 contribution that i had received from them. i raise about $30 million. and if you're saying i can be bought for $5,000, i'm offended. >> in the spotlight tonight, the
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relationship between pharmaceutical giant merck and texas governor rick perry. perry got in a lot of trouble last night with the tea party for his executive order mandating all sixth grade girls in texas be given a vaccine for hpv, the sexually transmitted disease linked to cervical va e cancer. this issue was a minor vote in the republican debate on msnbc last week. i tried to explain to our audience after last week's debate it was going to be a much, much bigger problem for f perry with the tea party than what he was saying about social security. it got very rough for perry last night. >> we cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order, there is a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate. we can't -- we can't deny that. >> what are you suggesting? >> what i'm saying is that it's wrong for a drug company because
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the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. the drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor and this is just flat-out wrong. the question is, is it about life or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for drug companies? >> let senator santorum hold off for a second. you have to respond to that. >> yes, sir. the company that was merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that i had received from them. i raise about $30 million. and if you're saying that i can be bought for $5,000, i'm offended. >> i'm offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn't have a choice. that's what i'm offended for. >> now, i tried to make a point last week that perry's decision was all about his service to a giant pharmaceutical company, not his concern for protecting women from health threats.
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but michele bachmann made that point much more effectively than i ever could have. at the time perry signed the mandate, merck manufactured the hpv vaccine and was conducting a multimillion dollar campaign to convince states to make the vaccination mandatory. one of merck's chief lobbyists was mike toomey. as michele bachmann pointed out, before finding employment with work, toomey served as the chief of staff for governor perry. nbc news' michael issicoff shows toomey's office had repeated contacts with perry's aides during the drafting of perry's executive order. today toomey runs. make us great again. a super pac, a super, super pac, that pledged to spend $55 million to support perry's bid
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for president. with friends at giant worldwide companies like merck, 55 million shouldn't be a problem. joining me now, james moore, who is co-author of "the new york times" bestseller "bush's brain" and has been covering texas politics since 1975. his forthcoming book is, well, i'm just going to do the subtitle of the book which is "why rick perry will make america miss george w. bush." because the actual title of the book is a questionable use of spanish that may not pass msnbc standards. thank you very, very much for joining us tonight. we will get the title of your book on our website. i just haven't won it by nbc standards. >> not a problem, lawrence. >> i think you understand. >> it will make more people go look for it. >> i think you understand. rick perry says he can't be bought for $5,000. he was lying about that in that we have specific records
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indicating that merck gave him directly a lot more than $5,000. in fact, gave him $6,000, then $16,000, then $7,500. the number perry made up as the number that you can't buy me for that merck supposedly gave him is actually a much higher number. he's leaving the question sitting there. how much can he be bought for? >> it's pretty funny because if you talk to lobbyists at the texas capitol right now, the going rate, everybody says before you even get into a conversation with his officers and staff, is about $200,000. he's right. he's a bit pricier than $5,000. it's also considerably ironic that this guy runs around saying that he wants to make government as inconsequential in our lives as possible. but to benefit his friend, mike toomey, he's willing to insert government into the lives of young women, age 11 and 12, and force them and their families to
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get a vaccine. this is the way it's been in texas under rick perry, lawrence. what happens is the lobbyists write the legislation and the legislators read it and they pass it and it's been going on that way since he's been governor. >> and mike toomey, a merck lobbyist, is running a super pac for the governor th's going to raise, promising to raise $55 million. that's why super pacs exist so withdraw can pretend -- you can lie and say you're getting $5,000 from merck when in fact you're getting $30,000 plus $300,000 or more detailed that's been routed through the republican association. these super pacs are set up to lie about how much money the lobbyist interests are giving you. this is a classic example of it, isn't it? >> i think so. mike is going to be intimately involved. he's very good friends with dave carney who runs perry's campaign. i think they even own an island together off the coast of maine where they have homes. these guys are very close. and mike has been representing
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many large corporations in the texas capitol while rick has been governor. and those companies have been getting what they want out of the texas legislature. the examples, the examples that come up over and over are the one is harold simmons who is one of rick perry's biggest contributors, has been pushing for a nuclear waste dump in west texas which people out there defeated several times. ultimately it got built and it is being built. another one is one of his biggest donors has given rick millions of dollars, bob perry, a home builder out of houston actually has gotten a board set up under rick perry that is to bring complaints about home builders to that board that nothing ever gets done. it's a way to make the issues go away. that's the way the federal government will work if he's elected. >> and bob perry and a lot of other contributors funneled money through the governors association when rick perry was running that. james moore, we're running out of time. thank you very much for joining us tonight. you're going to be back a lot uncovering rick perry. we'll find out from msnbc
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standards whether we can ever say the actual title of your book. the subtitle, though, tells the story. thanks very much, james. >> my pleasure, lawrence. president obama's new slogan is "pass this bill." congress just might force him to rewrite that slogan. that's ahead in, of course, the "rewrite." later, why rick perry's sensible sfatance on immigratio and border issues will definitely hurt him with tea party voters. that's coming up with melissa harris-perry. ♪ ♪ ♪ when your chain of supply ♪ goes from here to shanghai, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ chips from here, boards from there ♪ ♪ track it all through the air, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ clearing customs like that ♪ hurry up no time flat that's logistics. ♪
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parts of president obama's jobs plan, then the president is going to have to rewrite his "pass this bill" slogan. it turns out the president's already working on that rewrite. and in last night's debate, rick perry was booed when defending a bill he signed that provided more texans with the opportunity to attend college. that's coming up with melissa harris-perry. naturals from purina cat chow. delicious, real ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives. naturals from purina cat chow. share a better life. setting that goal to become a principal. but, i have to support my family, so how do i go back to school? university of phoenix made it doable.
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i wish i could remember who the first person who suggested to me last week that pass this bill would become the yes, we can, of the baobama re-election campaig. because it has. >> pass this jobs bill. pass this bill now. pass this bill. pass this bill. >> but the obama campaign is going to have to rewrite that slogan if congress passes only some of his bill. like, say, the payroll tax cut that both parties can agree on. which is actually the largest piece of the american jobs act. the obama camp is going to have to come up with something like pass the rest of this bill or pass whatever's left of this bill or pass that thing about corporate jets and never mind that it actually refers to all general aviation aircraft including single engine propeller planes. for three long days, friday, saturday and sunday, the white house tried to sell the notion that sure, it was possible to
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pass the american jobs act in tact. republicans recognizing that they are, perhaps, the least popular congressional party in history at the moment politely refrained from saying in the clearest possible way, immediately, obviously we will rip this bill apart and only pass the tax cut parts that we like and we won't pass any of the tax revenue increases and we sure don't feel like passing any of the new spending pieces. today began with the obama campaign thinking they might just be able to get away with this fantasy for at least one more day. >> we're not in negotiation to break up the package and it's not an al a, carte menu. >> the president insisted the infrastructure of the american jobs act included a brilliantly constructed trap for republicans. >> should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies?
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or should we use that money to give small business swrn owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires or put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate, ready for college, good jobs? should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies or should we use that money to give small businessowners a tax credit when they hire new workers? should we keep tax breaks for millionaires or billionaires or should we put teachers back to work so our kids are ready to graduate from college and get a good job? do we keep tax loopholes for oil companies or do we put teachers back to work? do we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires or should we invest in education and technology and infrastructure? do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies? or do you want to renovate more schools like ft. hays so the construction workers have jobs again? do you want to keep tax breaks
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for multimillionaires and billionaires? or do you want to put teachers back to work and help small businesses and cut taxes for middle class families? >> i pointed out as soon as the president announced the general shape of his bill on thursday night that several congressional committees would have jurisdiction over these several different parts of the bill and that there was no parliamentary procedure available like the reconciliation process that could keep the bill in tact when brought to the senate or house floor. of course, if the senate including a handful of republicans and the republican-controlled house wanted to suddenly become cooperative, they could do anything. they could easily hold this kind of bill in tact. and if they held it in tact, then, then you would have that juxtaposition the president is talking about. the tax break for millionaires versus the jobs provisions in
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the bill. but that choice may never come because it is entirely within the powers of the congress to rip this bill apart. not just, not just because of committee jurisdiction issues but because the procedural rules of both the house and the senate make it virtually impossible to hold this bill together. congressional republicans know what the white house now knows. which is -- and the white house knew it all along. that the bill must originate in the house of representatives. it has to originate there. because it is a constitutional rule, not just a rule of the house, that all tax bills, all revenue bills, must originate in the house of representatives. so this talk of, democratic talk of, well, maybe the senate can
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pass the bill and then put pressure on the house to pass the bill. if the senate passes the bill in tact which is virtually impossible as it is in the current makeup of the senate with 47 republicans there, it would be what they call blue slipped in the house of representatives. it's an old tradition where they put a blue slip on the bill which is a rejection bill saying in effect you violated the constitution. you and the senate have passed a revenue bill first. you passed it before the house of representatives, therefore, we won't even look at it, won't even consider it. those are the kinds of things the president's bill is up against. the president knows his bill is up against those kinds of things which is why he finally admitted in a discussion with reporters that, yes, if the congress passes some of his bill, he will, of course, sign those portions that the congress passes and then, as he said, tell them to pass the rest. and so we are now in the pass
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the bill stage of this campaign to pass the bill and we will soon enter the pass the rest of it or pass whatever's left of it stage of passing this bill. we'll see how long it takes for us to get there. of the american postal workers union handle more than 165 billion letters and packages a year. that's about 34 million pounds of mail every day. ever wonder what this costs you as a taxpayer? millions? tens of millions? hundreds of millions? not a single cent. the united states postal service doesn't run on your tax dollars. it's funded solely by stamps and postage. brought to you by the men and women of the american postal workers union. ♪ of the american postal workers union. [ thunder rumbles ] what is the sign of a good decision?
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there was one candidate at last night's republican debate who was willing to bravely face reality about at least one thing. >> in the state of texas, if you've been in the state of texas for three year, if you're working toward your college degree and if you are working
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and pursuing citizenship in the state of texas, you pay instate tuition there. the bottom line is, it doesn't make any difference what the sound of your last name is. that is the american way. no matter how you got into the state, from the standpoint if your parents brought you there or what have you. that's what we've done in the state of texas and i'm proud we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them you go be on the government dole. >> he didn't stop there. there was this. >> the idea you're going to build a wall from brownsville to el paso and go left for another 800 miles to tijuana is just not reality. >> perry has now taken his place in line to be possibly the third republican nominee for president in a row with a much more liberal position on immigration and border issues than his party. the question facing perry and his campaign strategists now is
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will he stick to his guns on immigration own border security in the face of his party's opposition just the way former texas governor george w. bush did? or will he try the kind of flip-flopping that john mccain did to win the republican nomination last time? joining me now, melissa harris-perry, msnbc contributor. professor of political science at tulane university. and columnist for "the nation." thanks for joining me tonight, melissa. >> absolutely. good to be here. >> melissa, what's with these border state republicans? starting with, let's not forget, ronald reagan. governor of california. border state. who had a very reasonable attitude toward this subject. then jk swohn mccain who was fo before he was against it. george w. bush consistently enlightened, you would say, in republican terms, on immigration. now the governor of texas. what's going on? >> sure, i mean, part of it is that's how they become governor in border states or senator in border states.
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the fact is that in those states you have large, important parts of the electorate who do have a clear understanding about just how difficult the immigration issue is. if you're living in texas, you understand sort of how ridiculous the notion of the wall is. if you're living in arizona, you have a lot of clarity about sort of what immigration issues are. now, it also, of course, leads to things like sb-1070 in arizona where you have these kind of, you know, aggressive responses over and against it. but it's part of how they become statewide leaders in these border states. >> and there are some business practicalities to this. i mean, it's not just all from the heart. there's a certain amount of corporate and business interest that says to these people, these office holders in those states, come on, let's be reasonable about this, this is the reality of our economic environment here. >> well, look, yeah. in this case, perry is talking about paying instate tuition to
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texas colleges. so the great freedom here is the freedom to pay tuition. now granted these are actually quite reasonable tuitions given the quality of public school education in texas at least as of now before all of the perry education cuts start hitting these campuses in the wake of sort of what we're expected to see in his draconian cuts in education. up to this point it really is about making sure those tuition dollars come in and any university system right now will tell you that getting tuition paying units, which is what students are these days, tpus, is highly valuable. pushing them out because their parents came here without documentation is just bad business. >> well, the instate cost, the instate resident cost is $7,200 a year. if you're considered a nonresident of texas, it's $10,000 more. this is a very significant savings for those students. rick perry actually did, at least for one day, stand firm on his tuition policy today. let's listen to what he had to say today. >> well, this issue is about
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education. it's not about immigration. these kids showed up in our state by no fault of their own. you know, some t2 or 3 years of age. they've been in our schools. they've done the work. >> melissa, the guy is sounding like one of us. should we ruin his candidacy and both endorse him as our republican favorite on immigration and border policy? >> well, you know, when i was sitting in for you, lawrence, i did as you did in the candidacy of christine o'donnell, and every time i talked about governor perry i mentioned he was no relation to me. so i'm pretty sure that i cannot now endorse him. that said, when you say he sounds like one of us, the fact was he was at one point a democratic. he was a dixiecrat blue, blue, blue dog version of democrat but he was at one point a member of the democratic party. something that i suppose he doesn't want to trumpet much with the tea party. look, i don't think that as members of political media that it's a good idea to sort of bash him for making reasonable
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arguments. you know, it's how i feel about sort of the attacks on him about his hpv vaccine decisions and also about this one. it's not that i think we ought to endorse him. i already have my candidate in the 2012 race. i do think that when the republicans make sense, whether it's huntsman or romney or perry, we ought to just sort of say, yes, here might be a place where wu can find agreement on policymaking. >> it goes outside the current orthodox of his party. in 2001 perry actually wrote this in "the dallas morning news." "i'm intrigued and opened to the bush administration's amnesty proposal. most texas agree it's better to have legal tax pays immigrants from mexico working in the united states than illegal immigrants living in fear of the law and afraid to access basic services." melissa, a republican candidate using the amnesty word has just become

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